The Malik Report
From the Free Press's Keith Gave:
Dr. John Finley, who nurtured and cared for generations of Detroit Red Wings players from Ted Lindsay and Gordie Howe to Steve Yzerman, Nick Lidstrom and the Russian Five, died tonight at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Bloomfield Township. He was 88.
A native of Syracuse, N.Y., Finley – “Jack” to his legion of friends – joined the Wings care-giving staff in 1957 and served until his retirement from medical practice in 2003. Then he sat down at his keyboard and began to write. The result was his 2012 book, “Hockeytown Doc,” in which he shared some wildly entertaining stories about his 47 years treating NHL players.
Finley and his wife of 59 years, Genevieve, had a special friendship with Colleen and Gordie Howe, a bond forged through nearly six decades, beginning when “Mr. Hockey” was dominating the league and the Wings were the class of the league.
The Red Wings Alumni Association is playing games on both Saturday and Sunday this weekend, wrapping up their season with games in Dearborn on Saturday and Fraser on Sunday.
CBS Detroit posted the details of Saturday's game:
Come watch UAW-Ford take on the Detroit Red Wings Alumni as they duke it out on April 29 for the upcoming charity event for local kids: Stick It to Children’s Cancer 2017! Head to the Dearborn Ice Skating Center on 14900 Ford Road, Dearborn MI to see who will win the bragging rights!
Stop by starting at 4:30 for some pre-game action with the 97.1 The Ticket Street Team and Ticket Chicks, plus you could win great prizes! Also this family friendly event will have the Monster Truck Brutus onsite.
Admission is a $10 donation, doors open at 6 PM and the puck drops at 6:30 PM. Plus there will be a live art auction and concession stands, with all proceeds benefiting kids kicking cancer and kids without cancer.
Here's the Alums' lineup for Saturday:
The Grand Rapids Griffins advanced to the second round of the AHL playoffs with a 3-2 OT victory over the Milwaukee Admirals last night, and ahead of next week's series against the Chicago Wolves, the Free Press's Helene St. James takes stock of the Wings prospects' performances:
The Griffins clinched their first-round series with a victory Wednesday night at Milwaukee. Goaltender Jared Coreau, whose stint with the Wings from December to March included two shutouts, made 41 saves in the 3-2 overtime victory.
Forward Evgeny Svechnikov, the Wings’ first-round pick from 2015, set up both the first goal and the game-winning one as the Griffins rallied in Game 3 to sweep the best-of-5 series. Forward Tomas Nosek, who did well during 11 games with the Wings down the stretch, scored his second goal of the series, from which he emerged with three points.
Forward Tyler Bertuzzi, a second-round pick from 2013, also had an assist to give him four points in the first round. Bertuzzi, nephew of former Wings forward Todd Bertuzzi, has 24 points in 26 career AHL playoff games.
The more the prospects impress now, the better for their auditions come training camp in September. There is likely to be at least one spot held for a forward to take. In Coreau’s case, he is likely to be the backup in Detroit. He is no longer waiver-exempt, and the Wings will try to trade either Jimmy Howard or Petr Mrazek in the effort to upgrade the defense.
The Toledo Blade's Mark Monroe reports that the Toledo Walleye will open their series against the Fort Wayne Komets without the services of goaltender Jake Paterson (high ankle sprain):
We're a little over a week away from the start of the IIHF hockey World Championship in Paris and Cologne, and Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill "talked up" the Wings' Team USA participants in a conversation with the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan--in no small part because Blashill will serve as their coach:
Blashill and the Team USA staff have been able to put together a competitive group, including the three Red Wings, who Blashill feels will benefit greatly from competing in the tournament.
Both [Dylan] Larkin and [Danny] DeKeyser are likely to play big roles on the Team USA roster.
“Both of them were playing some of their best hockey toward the end of the regular season,” Blashill said. “Hopefully they can carry that over into this tournament and continue at that level of play.”
[Jimmy] Howard was one of the NHL’s best goalies, statistically, before spraining his knee in early December, forcing him to miss the next three months.
“This gives Howie an opportunity to get more games under his belt,” said Blashill, who’ll have Howard as his No. 1 goalie, with Commerce Township’s Connor Hellebuyck (Walled Lake Northern) as the backup.
Kulfan continues, and Petr Mrazek (Czech Republic) will be the Wings' other World Championship participant.
The Red Wings only have a 6.7% chance of winning the NHL's Draft Lottery this weekend (7:30 PM EDT Saturday on CBC and NBCSN), and it's entirely possible that the Wings may move back from 7th place, but MLive's Ansar Khan reports that the Wings' front office will attend the event crossing their fingers and toes:
[Kris] Draper, assistant to Red Wings general manager Ken Holland, will join representatives of 14 other teams, including expansion Vegas, on stage. Shawn Horcoff, Detroit's director of player development, will be back-stage, where three drawings will take place, determining the top three selections.
The next 12 picks are determined by the 2016-17 standings, with Vegas selecting no lower than sixth. If the Red Wings don't land one of the top three selections, they will pick at No. 7, 8, 9 or 10, depending on which three teams are drawn.
Back-stage representatives are not permitted to communicate with those on stage, so Draper and everyone else won't know the results until revealed, in reverse order, by NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly shortly after 8 p.m.
Center Nolan Patrick of Brandon (WHL) is the consensus top pick, through some believe center/winger Nico Hischier of Halifax (QMJHL) could go No. 1 overall.
The Red Wings will have their first top-10 pick since 1991. The front office and scouting staff, led by Tyler Wright, have been traveling around North America and Europe as usual, with more focus on projected top-10 talent.
"It's probably the most (Holland) has scouted since he's been GM," Draper said. "I've done a lot of scouting this year. Being in Michigan, you're in an ideal situation to see a lot of the top kids. It's been a great opportunity to see a lot of high-end names in the draft."
Khan continues, speaking with Draper about the draft combine, which will take place in late May...
It's a bit of PR as much as it is an "update on Little Caesars Arena," but Fox Sports Detroit's John Keating spoke with Olympia Entertainment CEO Tom Wilson regarding the progress being made on the facility and some of the events that are going to be taking place there:
I also don't know if I'm supposed to tell you this, but WDIV Local 4 News reported last night that people can rent Joe Louis Arena's ice for 3 hours for $3,000, guided tour of the facility included.
The Grand Rapids Griffins advanced to the second round of the AHL playoffs by defeating the Milwaukee Admirals 3-2 in overtime last night, and the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner spoke with Griffins forward Kyle Criscuolo about his overtime winner:
The 5-foot-9 Criscuolo was perched just to the right of the net and took a pass from Dan Renouf from just inside the blue line. He quickly used his stick to re-direct the shot for his first AHL postseason goal on just his fourth playoff shot.
"At the end there, Renouf just made a great play at the point and I called for it and he made a great pass," Criscuolo said. "I deflected it in and it was obviously a great relief."
Criscuolo, who had 17 goals and 41 points in the regular season, had the highlight-reel goal of the season Dec. 6 when he took an impressive saucer pass from Matthew Ford and swatted the puck in-air past Cleveland goalie Joonas Korpisalo.
But the overtime winner meant more, he said.
"This is certainly the most important goal I've scored thus far," said Criscuolo, an undrafted former two-year captain at Harvard. "I mean, anytime you can win a series in overtime is obviously a thrill."
Wallner continues, and you can watch the Griffins-Admirals highlights here:
from Brendan Savage of Mlive,
If they take a defenseman in the first round, one possibility is Cale Makar of the Alberta Junior Hockey League's Brooks Bandits. Makar is the highest-ranked North American defenseman available in the draft, according to NHL Central Scouting.
Makar, ranked No. 9 by Central Scouting, raised his stock with a strong performance for Canada West in the 2016 World Junior A Challenge, according to an NHL.com story.
He served as team captain, had four goals and assists in four games, and picked up five points in a 6-2 victory over Switzerland.
"A lot of times these guys will start out low and their play will dictate how high they rise up," NHL Central Scouting's John Williams told writer Aaron Vickers of NHL.com. "We really wanted to see how he did against elite competition.
"We knew he was a good player in the AJHL. We wanted to see him against the best in that tournament against the best players. He was a cut above. He was by far one of the best players there, for sure."
Makar, who is committed to play at the University of Massachusetts next season, was ranked 10th at midseason before a strong finish to his season.
In 54 games last season, the 18-year-old Makar had 24 goals, 51 assists and 18 penalty minutes. He led all AJHL defensemen in scoring while helping Brooks to the league's best record.
Makar (5-11, 180) chose college over major junior hockey because he thought it would be better for his development as he pursues an NHL career.
From the Grand Rapids Griffins:
SCHEDULE FOR DIVISION FINALS VERSUS CHICAGO ANNOUNCED
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – After completing a second straight first-round sweep of the Milwaukee Admirals on Wednesday, the Grand Rapids Griffins will continue their quest for the Calder Cup by facing their longtime rivals, the Chicago Wolves, in the best-of-seven Central Division Finals.
The second-seeded Griffins and division-champion Wolves – fresh off of rallying past the Charlotte Checkers by winning the final two games of their series – will stage their first postseason clash in 13 years. Games 1 and 2 will take place at Allstate Arena on Wednesday, May 3 and Friday, May 5 before the series turns to Van Andel Arena for Games 3 and 4 on Saturday, May 6 and Monday, May 8. The complete schedule is as follows:
About The Malik Report
The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.